Fleur-Michelle Coiffait, Psychologist

Fleur-Michelle Coiffait, @NHS Curator@NHS from 07/10/16 to 11/11/16

Job title: Senior Clinical Psychologist

Twitter: @ChildClinPsych

Place of work: Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust

I’m a Senior Clinical Psychologist working in Skelmersdale, Lancashire in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as part of a specialist team for children and young people with a learning disability and/or autism spectrum disorder. I’ve been in this post since April this year and work four days a week in this job, with the other day spent working as a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.

I’ve been working in the NHS for ten years now and can pinpoint the start of my NHS career back to an afternoon I spent on National Volunteering Day at a local service for adults with learning disabilities and autism. I’ve always wanted to help people and this opportunity made me think about how we care for people in our society who are vulnerable but also enable them to participate in their own lives with dignity and respect.

I went on to study Psychology at A Level and enjoyed thinking about ‘why’ people do the things they do so much that I headed to the University of Manchester for an undergraduate Psychology degree. Manchester was a fantastic place to be a student with an ideal combination of great nightlife, music, shopping and sport! Alongside my studies I volunteered as a mentor for young people and as an activity club leader for after school groups. I realised through these volunteering roles how much I enjoyed the challenges and rewards of working with children and young people.

When I graduated in 2006, I continued my work with young people, working as a Pastoral Tutor in a sixth form college, before taking up an assistant clinical psychologist post in CAMHS. I decided to further my studies at the University of Manchester by undertaking a research Masters that built on my undergraduate research, looking at social cognition (how we think about and make sense of others and social situations) in adults with autism spectrum disorders. I worked alongside this as an assistant clinical psychologist at one of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) pathfinder sites in Manchester, prior to the national launch of IAPT back in 2008.

I completed my clinical psychology doctorate training in Scotland and spent five wonderful years living and learning in Edinburgh. Scotland is such a beautiful place and I do miss it at times! Clinical psychology training is usually undertaken over a three year doctorate, but NHS Education Scotland had been running a specialist model (sadly now no longer) that meant you had the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of practice or client group.

I specialised in working with children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders and spent four years of my training working two days a week in a fantastic CAMHS Learning Disability team. I also spent a year working in the Paediatric Psychology and Liaison Service at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, with children and young people experiencing psychological issues alongside medical conditions or physical health problems. I enjoyed working in an acute hospital setting and did a further 12 month placement during my training at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, providing clinical psychology input to Oncology and the South East Scotland Regional Lifespan Clinical Genetics Service.

I moved back to England when I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 2013 and spent time working in a number of temporary posts in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Stockport and Leicester, all in roles working with children and young people with neurodevelopmental issues. It was a really interesting and invaluable experience to work in several different NHS Trusts and regions and this allowed me to reflect on different ways of working and take away what works well.

I’m delighted to be back in the North West living in Manchester with my fiancé, Chris, and our two cats, Coco and Nero. I’m pleased to have finally set down some roots! However, I don’t forget where I have come from and so I’m still an avid Hull City fan!

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